September 24, 2007
GM Workers Strike
Posted by Lisa Fairfax

Members of the United Automobile Workers Union began striking today at GM plants across the country in what is apparently the first national strike by the union since 1970.  In a statement on Sunday, UAW told its members that if a deal between GM and the union had not been reached by 11 a.m. today (and unless they heard otherwise), they should consider themselves on strike.  And thus, after 11 today many workers walked off the job to begin striking for what could be weeks or even months.  To be sure, as GM noted, the apparent stalemate between GM and the union involves "complex, difficult issues" such as those related to health care coverage and how to secure jobs in a troubled industry.  Yet, similar to many conversations in the corporate governance arena, a large part of the stalemate appears to center not only around issues of compensation, but also around the gap between executive and employee compensation.  Thus, in criticizing GM, vice president and director of the union's GM department stated "in 2007 company executives continued to award themselves bonuses while demanding that our members accept a reduced standard of living."  This apparent difference in behavior captures the broader sentiment of employees and their mounting frustration with increased executive compensation.  The seeming difference in behavior no doubt only adds to the complex and difficult issues being confronted at the bargaining table. 

Corporate Governance, Employees | Bookmark

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